Preston North End manager Simon Grayson has expressed his delight for Bailey Wright as the defender's World Cup journey continues.
Wright was selected in the Socceroos’ 23-man squad for the tournament earlier this month but is yet to make his competitive debut at international level.
Australia face the Netherlands in their second group game of the competition this evening, kick-off 5pm, having lost 3-1 to Chile last week.
Grayson is hoping the 21-year-old can earn his first cap in Brazil but also wants the centre back to return home injury free.
“I’ve had a bit of contact whilst he’s been out there,” Grayson told PNE.Com in an exclusive interview.
“He’s fully enjoying the experience and it’ll be nice for him to get some game time before we start pre-season.
“No disrespect to the Australians but I’d like to have my player back fit and sharpish, but it’s a fantastic opportunity for him to be first and foremost with the national squad is fantastic but also for him to be potentially playing against Holland and Spain coming up.
“So it’s fantastic for the lad, and I don’t think in his wildest of dreams he’d of imagined he’d have had this on his doorstep, in terms of him being so young and it happening so quickly.
“I suppose two years ago it looked like he wasn’t even going to be playing for Preston North End again, but football can change quickly, and we’re delighted for him, and it’ll be fantastic if he can get some game time.”
Chris Humphrey has also been on international duty with Jamaica over the summer and Grayson admits the winger and Wright could benefit from a slightly longer break upon their return.
“These boys have obviously been training whilst they’ve been off, and they’ve both had a long season as well,” the manager said.
“Bailey played about 90 per cent of the games so it’ll have been a long season physically and mentally and then going to the World Cup so the likelihood is, is that we’ll extend the holiday time for Bailey and I’ll speak to Chris with how he’s feeling.
“He’s obviously had a couple of weeks extra to Bailey but again it might be beneficial for him to have a few more days off because it would mean he’d be raring to go for the new season because there’s another long season coming up for us.”